AIRLINE BOARDING PASSES COULD GIVE TERRORISTS A HEAD’S UP
TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON – The Washington Post reports that security flaws in airline boarding passes could allow would-be terrorists or smugglers to know in advance whether they will be subject to certain security measures, and perhaps even permit them to modify the designated measures, security researchers have warned.
It’s the TSA’s pre-screening system, a paid-for program in which the screening process is expedited for travelers at the airport.
Laptop computers can remain in hand baggage, as can approved containers of liquid, and belts and shoes can be kept on. Passengers can still be subject at random to conventional security screening.
Flight enthusiasts have recently discovered that the bar codes printed on all boarding passes – which travelers can obtain up to 24 hours before arriving at the airport – contain information on which security screening a passenger is set to receive. Simply by using a smartphone or similar device, travelers could determine whether they would pass through full security screening or the expedited process.
The reported vulnerabilities also raise the possibility that travelers could tamper with boarding passes in an attempt to alter the type of screening they will receive.
Most passes are issued with verification codes to prevent tampering. But some security experts have said that certain passes are marked as “unverified,” suggesting they could be modified. They were unable to test whether it was possible to do so, as it is illegal to tamper with a boarding card under US law.
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